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CHARGE!

Paladin

Crossover Prog


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Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Mix your mind with the moonbeams"

Paladin may only have ever released two albums, but their second "Charge" is an absolute classic of early 70's melodic prog. There are many different styles and sounds on the album, yet the whole is nothing less than a coherent masterpiece.

The Roger Dean sleeve may not be an absolute guarantee of quality, but Paladin sit well with their peers such as Yes, Uriah Heep, Asia, etc., whom Dean graced with his artwork.

There are four feature tracks on the album. The opening "Give me your hand" sets the tone, with rich organ and guitar backing a strong vocal for a fine piece of melodic hard rock. "Good lord" is a slightly softer but still upbeat song with some excellent guitar work by Derek Foley. It leads into the album's best track, the wonderfully atmospheric "Mix your mind with the moonbeams". The multi-tracked vocals and trippy lyrics are pure early 70's ("Let the cosmic light diffuse itself, in all its magic ways"). The track is awash in keyboard layers, and chiming guitars. This is PENDRAGON years before Pendragon existed! Also included is an all too rare Hammond organ solo, similar to the one on URIAH HEEP's "July Morning".

The closing track "Watching the world pass by" has it all in about 9 minutes. It starts with some interesting keyboard moods, before breaking into an almost funky harmonica led wall of sound. About midway, we suddenly lurch into a barn dance, before a superb guitar solo of some length brings the album to its climactic conclusion.

The album is rounded out by three shorter tracks. "Well we might" is an early Slade (yes Slade!) like rocker with some great guitar and some very effective stop go interludes. "Anyway" is a mellotron backed ballad which contrasts superbly with the generally upbeat nature of the album. This track appears to have been a late addition to the original LP, as it appears on a sticky label added to the track listing. "Get one together" is the only dip, being a pretty nondescript instrumental.

"Charge" is a truly superb album, very much of its time, but still highly enjoyable. The band were destined to split before recording any further albums, but at least they went out on a high.

Report this review (#32394)
Posted Monday, August 16, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Nothing to add to what was said before, except that i give 5 full stars (4 are not enough). This album is really a masterpiece, at a point that i remember i had to re-buy it for my 18th birthday (1974) because it had been so much heard that it was incredibly scratching... Now it's quite unfoundable, except if you manage to buy the re-edit on CD (1996). The CD contains the 2 originals first LPs, ("Paladin" & "Charge") + bonus tracks.

Here are the CD reference :

CD : Red Steel Music RMC CD 0202 (digipak).

Then, also notice that most of members of Paladin committed in the 2000's a new album, still with the band name "Paladin", and the album title is "Jazzatack". As it let it think, it is Jazz oriented, but some sounds are still quite those of the 70's ! You can find "Jazzatack" on the Web, but be patient...

Report this review (#32395)
Posted Saturday, January 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I still have and listen to Paladin Charge!! First purchased in 1972, the music still sounds incredible. Would love to get my hands on the CD version of this great album. Watching the World Pass By is still No. 1. The album cover is one of Roger Dean's better creations.Thanks to B.H. Long Live Paladin Charge!!! The Bock.
Report this review (#32396)
Posted Monday, February 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars As with a couple of the other reviewers I picked up this album in the early 70s, partly because of the Roger Dean cover and partly from having heard Mix Your Mind With The Moonbeams and Watching The World Go By at the infamous London Hospital Tavern which had the worst beer and the best rock DJ anywhere.

The album is very varied and contains one of the most bizzare interludes ever in the electro folk violin thrash in Watching the World. The guitar work is excellent and the overall effect of complete absorbtion. A thotoughly electrifying album that I never fail to enjoy (and play at least twice each time). It summed up at the time the way that progressive rock was keen to absorb and mutate other styles rather than trashing them as is so common now.

I play this album quite often still and rate it as one of my all time favourites - an absolute classic!

Report this review (#53510)
Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
afro_thunder1
5 stars An album not known by a lot of people but a great none the less amazing vocals and brilliantly structured together, this is alongside the others i have noted previously such as wish you were here, Camel's MoonMadness and not forgetting King Crimson Court of the crimson king unbelievable this album

only bought it because i was high and the cover was trippy hahahaha but once listening to it makes you realise true music

a must listen people a must.....

10 out of 10

Report this review (#56058)
Posted Saturday, November 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Ooh! This is a real tough one for me, because Paladin is a decent band, but I can't help feeling that it's contribution to progressive rock is neglible at best, and non-existent at worst. When I first listened to this album I was quite put off, because I spent virtually the whole of the first half of it wondering how anyone could consider Paladin to be remotely progressive. After getting used to what the band has to offer, I've softened my initial stance, but I really don't think Charge! is anything more than an enjoyable classic rock effort with a mix of styles that do not add up to a particularly creative whole.

The opener Give Me Your Hand for example sounds a little like Uriah Heep with driving rock and searing organ, but at one point breaks into a loose soulful jam that could have cut by Traffic or Tonton Macoute. Well We Might is mindless glam-tinged (hey t'was 1972 after all) boogie rock. Get On Together is an edgy funk instrumental, all wah-wah and tearaway Hammond work from organist Pete Solley. Anyway is strangely like some John Lennon solo track I can't put my finger on. Good Lord is a breezy Allman Brothers type rocker on which guitarist Derek Foley really gets to stretch out although vocalist Lou Stonebridge rules the middle of the song with a delicious echo-laden electric piano solo! My favourite track is probably Mix Your Mind With The Moonbeams which rides a lovely lead vocal melody (that would do any Beatles wannabe proud) before launching into a dandy organ solo. Interestingly Solley's organ lines show a distinct appreciation of the work of Procol Harum's Matthew Fisher ... and Solley would join that band for the Something Magic album!

The closer Watching The World Pass By is a real hotpotch of a track (and is probably what passes for progressive) ... it has a suitably laidback opening with a tranquil harmonica solo from Stonebridge, but then after threatening to break into something interesting, it explodes into another boogie extravaganza. Round about the 4 minute mark, we are suddenly treated to some sort of hoedown fiddle fest (well Solley is on violin for this), before Foley cuts back in with some smokin' axe lines.

So what you have is a pretty good album that touches numerous classic rock cornerstones, but almost never strays into the realm of progressive rock. Perhpas this will be of interest to those who get a kick out of the art-rock stylings of a band like Babe Ruth, but from a prog point of view, this is actually quite poor. ... 45% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#71168)
Posted Sunday, March 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars An unusual band at an unusual time for music. Paladin had all the right pieces in place to be successful, several of them having toured with the Stones, and all of them veterans of other professional bands. But for some reason never really took off. They probably would have been completely unknown in the States had it not been for the muy excelente Roger Dean cover.

I wish I had their debut album, which from what I’ve read was recorded pretty much live in the studio and has a real improvisational feel to it. It’s been reissued with this one on a combined CD so maybe someday, but it isn’t really high on my list.

There’s an awful lot of ground covered here, and most of it well-played, but overall there isn’t any kind of contiguous theme or sound or genre or anything else to hold it together, which makes it a bit hard to listen to.

The opening “Give Me Your Hand” kicks off okay (is that cowbell?), although it gives the impression this is more of an early seventies psych-blues band, which it really isn’t. I like this song, and particularly the dueling keyboards, but the somewhat suppressed organ and multiple-vocal harmonizing (that is cowbell, by the way) place this squarely in the very early seventies, and most of these types of songs haven’t aged well. This sounds a lot like Blues Image to me.

A little boogying with “Well we Might” including a near Jerry Lee Lewis performance on piano and decent guitar from Derek Foley, but that organ still anchors this one way back in time, and Lou Stonebridge’s vocals sound like Billy Joel, which takes a bit of the edge off.

“Get one Together” is a great instrumental, and makes one wonder if these guys shouldn’t have worked up a few more like this and maybe expended them – that would have made their inclusion in a progressive rock archive made a bit more sense. This track is all about keyboards, loud, fast, and energetic. A great, although short, tune.

This was the early seventies, so somewhere there was inevitably always a strong hint of the Beatles showing up on just about any record, and on this one it’s “Any Way”, but here it sounds more like the ELO-doing-the Beatles version of the Beatles, including violin, slightly brooding Horace Wimp-like vocals, and lots of piano. I love this sound, but I usually look to Jeff Lynne to deliver it. Oh well, Lynne never managed to score a Dean cover, so these guys have that going for them at least.

If you’ve ever heard Steve Morse’s first solo album then you’ll recognize the guitar sound of “Good Lord”, sort of bluesy but threatening to cut loose with some jazz-fusion at any moment. There’s a hint of Caribbean rhythm here as well, and the two sounds combined would have made this the strongest track if the vocals had been left out. Not that they’re bad, they’re just unnecessary.

I’m thinking the progressive label gets put on this band largely because of the last two tracks (and the Dean cover – let’s not fool ourselves). Lyrics about moonbeams and cosmic magic, ripples on the pond of the universe (torch one up Timmy!), this is a very pleasant and keyboard-intense psych/folk head trip, complete with the obligatory and completely self-indulgent Rod Argent-like organ solo, and a little guitar fuzz at the end for added space effect. Good stuff.

And the best for last – “”Watching the World Pass By”. The opening harmonica is misleading, as this track wanders on for over nine minutes and manages to cover quite a bit of territory, beginning with some weird organ and guitar sound effects that quickly morph into a pretty straightforward hard rock “good time lovin” stretch, which itself gives way to a jam session that would have made Duane Allman proud, then finally a soaring guitar solo to wind things up. Tasty, if not prog.

I know very little about this band other than they were sort of on the periphery for a while in the seventies, and that one of them ended up in Player, a one-hit wonder band that I got into as a teenager. Other than that this is a sort of Wishbone Ash with two keyboardists instead of two guitarists, and whose biggest album didn’t have the consistency of vision that Ash’s ‘Argus’ did. This is more like some of the Ash albums that followed that one, and most of them are good but not great. That applies to this one as well. Three stars.

peace

Report this review (#116221)
Posted Friday, March 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Paladinīs second album Charge ! is one of those albums where I think to myself: Whereīs the prog in this ? After listening to the whole album I understand though. I donīt think there are many prog elements on this album. There is a considerable amount of organ on this solid rock album, but it mosty plays blues influenced things and not much out of the ordinary. In the ending of Good Road and in the whole of Max Your Mind With The Moonbeams the organ plays a big part in the somewhat prog related atmosphere though.

The musicians play well and the voice of Lou Stonebridge is really strong for this kind of music but the sound quality could have been a little better. I think the sound quality is a bit muddy.

If youīre looking for rock with just a twist of prog rock maybe this will be interesting. Personaly this doesnīt do anything for me, but you canīt deny quality. 3 stars it will be as the quality is high and without being outstanding in any way Paladin have made a solid rock album.

Report this review (#159335)
Posted Sunday, January 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I think that I listened to this now very hard to find album for the first time in 1975-76. One of my brothers, who plays guitar, borrowed it for a time from one of his friends. He played it very much while playing his first electric guitar while he was learning how to play it. I remember that I really didn`t like this album very much at that time, but I liked a lot the cover art, done by Roger Dean. So, since then the more associated memory that I had from this album was the cover art.

Well, I think that, strictly speaking, this is not a full Prog Rock album, but it is good anyway. I found some influences from URIAH HEEP and DEEP PURPLE in their sound, with their mix of Hard Rock with some Prog Rock arrangements. There are also some influences from PROCOL HARUM in Pete Solley`s organ playing. It is really an album with eclectic sounds, very enjoyable, that sounds a bit dated, with a sound that I found very characterisitic of some other albums released in the early seventies.

"Give Me Your Hand" is a Hard Rock song with good guitars and organ, plus some Latin-Influenced percussion. "Well We Might" is mostly an Rock and Roll song played with good slide guitar. "Get On Together" is one of the most Prog Rock influenced songs, in a song composed by the band`s drummer, Keith Webb. "Anyway" also has Prog Rock influences, with very good orchestral arrangements. "Good Lord" is another good Hard Rock song. The last songs in this album, "Mix Your Mind with the Moonbeams" and "Watching the World Pass By" are very Prog Rock in arrangements, and are among the best in this album.

Pete Solley years later played with PROCOL HARUM, adding sytnhesizers to the organ`s sound of the band for their final album of the seventies, called "Something Magic", in 1977. He was the main songwriter in this PALADIN`s album, but all the other members of the band also contributed to some songs as songwriters. It is a shame that this band only recorded two albums and later split. All the members are very good musicians. The lead and backing vocals are also very good.

Report this review (#161696)
Posted Wednesday, February 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars A short-lived outfit featuring the much-travelled keyboardist Pete Solley(Snafu, Procol Harum, Whitesnake) amongst their membership, Paladin's main claim-to-fame seems to be the uber- cool space-age artwork of Roger Dean that adorns the front of this 1972 album, the Yes-artist's snapshot of an extra-terrestial alien warrior charging into battle surely one of his most striking pieces. The group's second release, 'Charge!' pretty much picks up from where the group's self-titled debut left off, the bulk of the material blending bluesy rhythms and Solley's jazzy organ breaks with the occasional latin flourish. The start is strong - the pacey opener 'Give Me Your Hand' features a punchy, toe-tapping chorus and powerful vocals courtesy of bassist Peter Beckett - yet the rest album is less enthralling. Plus marks, however, are given for the group's use of slide guitar and conga's, these not-so-proggy instruments adding an unusually spicy flavour, whilst a couple of tracks do feature a real melodic invention, the groovy 'Anyway' and the ambitious nine-minute closer 'Watching The World Go By' showing a deft song-writing touch sadly absent from the rest of the album. The Problem is, however, they did it all before and did it a good deal better on 1971's 'Paladin', the group's superior first album, so, essentially, what we have here is a fairly undistinguished slice of perfectly-enjoyable early-seventies prog from a solid-if-unspectacular five-piece. But the artwork rocks. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 1972
Report this review (#636853)
Posted Monday, February 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
GruvanDahlman
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I do love my jazz-rock. It is fantastic and it fills me with much joy. Always have. The fusion of jazz and rock is very much a match made in heaven. The grittiness and intensity of rock and the feeling and musical excurions of jazz is just perfect. Many a band have proven this to be true. Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears are perhaps the prime examples but there are others (Chase, Centipede, CCS and several more) aswell. Paladin is one of these bands, lurking in the more obscure marshlands of prog.

The album is beautifully made by the master of progressive album art, Roger Dean. Someone wrote, very much to the point, that his art is not a certified mark of musical quality. And that is true. In the case of Charge it is very true.

The music bears resemblance to many of the classic bands of the early batch of jazz-rock and hard rock bands of the 70's. Uriah Heep, Beatles (though barely making it into the 70's), CCS and others in that vein are all noticeable here. It must be said, however, that in their finest moments Paladin puts forth a slab of jazz-rock very much in their own flavor.

The opener, "Give me your hand", is a terrific song. Intense, heavy on the percussion and drums and very raucious. (The presence of vocals put through the Leslie speaker makes it even better.) Great song that really sets the pace, or so one is lead to believe anyway.

The second track really is a letdown for me. Uriah Heep, which is a great band, always spiced up their albums with lacklustre rock'n'roll songs and this track sounds just like on of those. The Mick Box-ish slide guitar and all. Really nothing to write home about.

"Get one together" is a hammond drenched, groovy little thing which again raises the album to great heights, only to drop to something rather boring in "Good lord". The song feels like The Beatles changed their name to Paladin and that does not work for me. Bands trying to sound like Beatles disappoints me. Though the song is well written I feel it does not do much for me.

"Mix your mind with the moonbeams" is a rather good track, showing more personality of their own. It is a jazzy, gospel-influenced rock track which works alright. The last track, "Watching the world pass by" is a great song to end it all with. A ballad-y, slower and mellow number with good organ.

Charge is really nothing to cross the desert for. There are so many other bands worthy of discovery. In truth Charge is a disappointing album. The signs of greatness are taken down to be replace by cheap ones, showing the easy way out and not being truly a band in their own right. I feel they are too much in awe and inspired by other bands, such as Beatles and actually Uriah Heep (which is sort of fun, actually). Two stars. That's it.

Report this review (#1289244)
Posted Thursday, October 9, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Paladin - Charge! A pleasant Christmas gift surprise! Love the Roger Dean cover!

Not much of a reviewer, but do like to bring some of those hidden treasures to the forefront once in a while. This band formed from a couple of backing musicians that toured with the Rolling Stones, drummer Keith Webb and keyboardist Pete Solley. In 1970 they formed Paladin with Peter Beckett on bass (World of Oz), another keyboard player Lou Stonebridge (Glass Menagerie), and guitarist Derek Foley (Grisby Dyke).

It is quite the variety and blend of styles with pleasing vocals as well as a tad of jazz/rock fusion. It all borders around prog and psych tendencies throughout.

First track "Give Me Your Hand", is a nice cow bell influenced rock song in the beginning that gets into a cool jamming session with some psychedelic mixes that sound like a distorted synth violin from keyboards or maybe guitar, can't tell for sure. Good opener.

Second song "Well We Might", sort of reminds me a little bit of Grand Funk of the Craig period with the organ as well as their own sound and other various rock influences.

The third number "Get On Together" has a definite Santana sound to it, all instrumental and good.

The fourth title, "Anyway" seems to have the vibe of a mix of Argent and the Beatles, very nice.

The fifth track "Good Lord" makes me think of the Allman Brothers, yep the Allmans but then drifts off into some dreamy jam, then back to the Allman sound. This could be my favorite of the album.

Sixth number, "Mix Your Mind With Moonbeams" shows signs of Manfred Mann or Barkley James Harvest and their own sound. Quite soothing.

On the seventh track, "Watching the World Pass By", it starts with a harmonica driven, easy beat that fools you into being a short song but then bursts into a classic organ leading rock song, then twists into a sort of Scottish hills foot stomping violin episode, then back to the beginning organ driven rock. Quite a fun and jamming song all in all, with excellent guitar work.

The CD I have has an extra 7 tracks of bonus material in addition to the original album with only 1 "redo" of a song on the original, the rest are all new. I believe it is the 2007 remaster disc. Nice treat!

I really like this album, it sounds familiar but very fresh. For me there is enough material in the prog world to give it a rating of 4 stars.

AEProgman

Report this review (#1673497)
Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2016 | Review Permalink
5 stars PALADIN were a short-lived English Heavy Prog band, named after the knights of Charlemagne's court - the French equivalent to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Having chosen a suitably proggy bandname, Paladin embarked on their musical quest with the release of a self-titled album on the Bronze record label in 1971, which unfortunately failed to attract much attention from the record-buying public with its plain black album cover. Their second album "Charge!" (1972) featured fantasy cover art by Roger Dean, but the album still suffered from poor sales, and the gallant musical knights of Paladin dismounted their trusty steeds and hung up their armour forever in late 1972. To secure Paladin's place in the prog history books, a later 2-CD re-issue of the "Charge!" album was released in 1996, doubling up the original seven songs on the album, and a compilation album of Jazzy tracks was released under the title of "Jazzattack" in 2002.

Paladin are armed and ready to do battle with "Give Me Your Hand", a funky 8-minute-long Jazz-Rock number that definitely doesn't need "more cowbell", as there are cowbells in abundance on this lively rocker. This is like the kind of electrifying high- energy opener you might hear on a Santana or Savoy Brown album. These gallant Paladin knights are charging full-speed ahead on a burst of frenetic energy and raw adrenalin in a storming crusade of guitars, keyboards and pounding percussion. The soulful vocalist packs an impassioned punch too with this rousing chorus:- "Give me your hand, lead me on, Through this moment of despair, oh, Give me your hand, lead me on, Show me something that's still there." ..... This peerless band of musical knights have really set the bar high with this very impressive album opener. Can we expect Paladin to keep up the incredible pace throughout the album!?? "Well We Might", because that's the title of their second searing offering. There's no doubt about it, "Well We Might" is a super-charged Blues-Rock song that barrels along relentlessly for five breath-taking minutes like a diesel locomotive on full power. These intrepid knights sure know how to ROCK!! It's another dazzling display of roof-raising keyboards, guitars and percussion, all jousting to see who's the loudest and mightiest musician of them all, with amplifiers that probably go all the way up to eleven. The band barely have time for a breather with "Get One Together" either, as Paladin have got together again to deliver another real hell-for-leather barnstormer of a song. This pummelling instrumental rocker sounds like a funky cross between Uriah Heep and Santana, which can best be described as Funk Rock that's as hard and heavy as a block of granite. The fourth Very 'eavy and Very 'umble song "Anyway" has shades of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep. It's a rousing anthemic number which dramatically gathers in pace, reminding one of "July Morning" by Uriah Heep or "Child in Time" by Deep Purple. Either way, "Anyway" is an uplifting and inspirational song to close out Side One on a spiritual and emotional high-point.

"Good Lord", is that the time!? Yes, it's time for an extended fruity jam session where the musicians give a High and Mighty display of heavy Stormbringer prog at its absolute best, in the best Demons and Wizards traditions of Uriah Heep and Deep Purple, spiced up with the funky sound of the Allman Brothers and Santana. This sensational band have it all! Can it possibly get any better than this!?? YES IT CAN, because on the way now is "Mix Your Mind with Moonbeams", which might sound like some weird, stoned-out psychedelic acid trip, going by the title alone, but it's really a full-blown Heavy Prog epic, guaranteed to lift you up into prog heaven and beyond. This roaring soaring prog anthem is another stunning highlight of the album, alongside the marvellous "Anyway" at the close of Side One. We're taking it easy now and getting into a mellower mood for "Watching the World Pass By", with a deceptively light and breezy harmonica and keyboard opening. This just serves as a prelude though for another monstrous blast of powerful keyboard prog for a storming conclusion to a terrific album.

Paladin are the mother of all funky Jazz-Rock bands, with influences to be heard from the Allman Brothers, Deep Purple, Santana, Savoy Brown and Uriah Heep. These chivalrous knights are charged-up and ready to do battle in a dynamic explosion of thunderous keyboards, blistering guitars and pounding percussion. When it comes to Heavy Prog, Paladin are like gallant knights in shining armour charging full-speed ahead in a searing blaze of take-no-prisoners musical glory!

Report this review (#2339993)
Posted Tuesday, March 3, 2020 | Review Permalink

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